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Gyms are Closed so I’m Coaching Crossfit Online

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Gyms are Closed so I’m Coaching Crossfit Online


Tami Perkins leads a class via Zoom from her driveway. Chris Zuppa/Codetic

Tami Perkins is a coach and minority owner of Crossfit St. Pete in St. Petersburg, Florida, which has been observing a stay-at-home order since April 3. Tami and fellow coaches have moved their practice online since CFSP closed its doors at the end of March. Here’s what her life looks like now, as told to contributor Dana Sitar.

I’m semi-retired, so my days haven’t changed as much as others’ since I began staying at home — except that I coach Crossfit workouts from my back patio now.

Coaching classes for Crossfit St. Pete (CFSP) kept me active and fit before, and I hope to continue to do it throughout the pandemic and once we open our doors again. So far, my activity level has stayed the same.

When our gym — called a “box” in the Crossfit world — was up and running, I coached a noon class each weekday and returned for a 3:30 p.m. afternoon class to work out myself four or five times a week.

Now I coach a 5:30 p.m. class each weekday via Zoom from my back patio or driveway with my partner, Lauren, and our neighbor joining me at a safe distance. Instead of flipping on monitors with the day’s workout instructions, I write them by hand on a whiteboard I prop up on bar stools next to my computer.

Aerial photograph shows three women working out in a driveway.
Perkins, standing on the purple workout mat, is joined in her driveway by her partner and neighbor. Chris Zuppa/Codetic

Having Lauren and our neighbor there live makes my coaching time enjoyable, but I miss seeing everyone else in person. Zoom helps us maintain the community a little, but nothing is as good as seeing them in the flesh. I miss hearing their stories and laughing with them. I miss giving them a fist bump after completing a workout. I miss seeing their movements up close and helping them improve. I also miss our coaches.

Since CFSP’s doors have been closed, we’ve had to find creative ways to keep our members interested and active. Each day, our coaches host three at-home live classes via Zoom, where our members can log in and work out or stretch with us while seeing fellow CFSP members working out at their homes. One coach also records a daily one-minute workout video anyone can follow on their own time.

Pro Tip

Look for live-streaming workouts from your local gym to stay motivated, active and connected to the fitness community.

We have a strong presence on social media, thanks to our coaches staying engaged and encouraging members through comments and reactions. After the morning live session, we share the recorded Workout of the Day (WOD) to Facebook, YouTube and the official Crossfit SugarWOD app. That lets our members and others follow along and feel part of the community even though they can’t be together in person.

Unfortunately, during the “safer-at-home” order, we’ve had to give up foundations’ classes, one-on-one sessions new members take to learn the fundamental movements and exercises they’ll need to know for WODs. 

In two side-by-side photos, a computer and tablets record an online fitness class (left) and a woman runs (right).
Perkins’ setup for streaming her fitness class sits under a pickup truck in the driveway (left); Perkins runs as a part of a workout of the day. Chris Zuppa/Codetic

Lauren and I also enjoy fishing, so we’ve been going out a few times a week when the weather permits. We live near Weedon Island Preserve on Tampa Bay, where we can go for shallow flats fishing. When the weather is really calm, we take the boat further into the bay or the Gulf of Mexico for deep water fishing. We enjoy being active and outdoors, so we’re happy to be in Florida during this pandemic.

We’ve also been watching Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos more than we used to, since we can’t go out otherwise, and I’ve been putting puzzles together, something I loved doing during Indiana winters when I was younger.

Pro Tip

Take advantage of slowing down to rediscover activities you love but don’t make time for anymore.

Because of the pandemic, I’ve learned to shop less often and buy more each time, and I’m getting used to wearing a mask when I’m out. We also try to order food for carryout or delivery more often to support local restaurants during this tough time.

Because social gatherings aren’t an option, Lauren and I have been meeting with out-of-state friends on Zoom for a glass of wine and a chat. Those meetings have become a highlight of my week.

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